Spicy Blue Cheese and Apricot Sables

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A savory blue cheese cracker with hints of sweetness from morsels of dried apricots bits.

Spicy Blue Cheese and Apricot Sables: The Wimpy Vegetarian

I knew there were different kinds of dried apricots, but never really gave it a great deal of thought…until a box showed up on my doorstep. I’ve not written about a specific product here in the past, but will do so when I run across a product that I think is really heads and shoulders above the rest. The dried apricots from Enduring Sun fit the bill.

apricot samples

You can see right off the bat the difference in colors between the types, and you can taste it too.

The Jelena are your meaty, straight shooters. They’re apricots through and through; no subterfuge.

The Larissa is at the other end of the flavor continuum with a sweet floral taste that’s just beautiful. These were my favorites for just eating straight from the bag.

Both the Natasha and Valentina have hints of lemon and orange, with the Valentina being a little more tart to my taste.

All are wonderfully bright, full of fresh flavor, and slightly sweeter than others I’ve tried over the last few years. And I should add that I wasn’t requested to write anything about them, and am not being paid to do so.

I’ve experimented with them in baked goods, like this sable, and some scones that just came out of the oven. I’ve also pickled them with orange, rosemary, and sweet onions; and whipped into a compound butter. I’m still experimenting, and will be posting recipes for the ones that have worked the best!

For today, I’m starting my dried apricot series with Abby Dodge’s #baketogether project for this month with these spicy sables. This month’s project is her Spicy Parmesan Sables. Abby hosts a monthly opportunity for us all to bake a recipe of hers together. She starts it off at the start of each month by posting one of her recipes, along with photos and directions. Then she throws it out to us to come up with our own variations. If you’re interested, plus go to her site and join in the fun.

 

Spicy Blue Cheese and Apricot Sables

     by Susan Pridmore

     Makes 15 sable cookies / crackers

       Prep Time: 3 1/2 hours

       Cook Time: 18 minutes


Ingredients 

  • 3 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 ounce blue cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, very cold
  • 2 tablespoons dried apricot, chopped into small chunks
  • 1 tablespoon + 3/4 teaspoon ice water

Instructions

Place the flour, cheese, salt, cayenne, nutmeg and orange zest in a food processor and pulse briefly to combine. Add the butter and dried apricot pieces and pulse until the butter pieces are slightly larger than pea size, about 10 to 12 pulses, depending upon your processor. Drizzle the water evenly over the flour mixture. Pulse until the dough begins to form moist crumbs that just begin to clump together – about 8 or 9 pulses, depending on your processor.

Dump the moist crumbs onto the unfloured counter and gather into a pile. With the heel of your hand, push and gently smear the crumbs away from you until they start to come together in a cohesive dough. Two or three smears should do the trick. Using a bench scraper, gather the dough together and turn it about 45 degrees, and give it one or two more smears with the heel of your hand. Gather the dough together and shape the dough into a rectangle using the bench scraper to make the sides straight. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until very firm, about 3 hours, or up to 2 days.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375˚F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a thin, sharp knife, cut the log into 1/4-inch slices and arrange (they don’t spread much at all) on the prepared sheets. Back until nutty brown around the edges, 16 to 18 minutes. If you like, sprinkt he crackers with a little kosher salt just as the baking sheet come out of the oven. Serve slightly warm, or at room temperature.

The dough can be shaped and frozen for up to a month, and then thawed for about an hour on the counter or in the refrigerator overnight. Likewise, tuck the baked and cooled sables in a heavy-duty zip-lock bag and stash them in the freezer. Thaw at room temperature and warm them for a few minutes at 325˚F to refresh the flavors.

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Comments

    • says

      Rita,

      You can purchase these sun-dried apricots on our website: http://www.enduringsun.com! Just visit our website and click on the Online Store link. This will take you to our web store.

      The thing that makes our sun-dried apricots unique is that they come from Central Asia – the center of origin for apricots. These Central Asian apricots have very rich and intense flavors – much more flavorful than dried apricots usually found in the US from Turkey or California. If you’ve tried dried apricots before and like them, try ours! I think you will be very impressed.

    • says

      When I saw your comment, Rita, I sent an email to the Enduring Sun folks and their marketer and I see that Dale has responded, and quickly! Unfortunately it does look like you have to order them, but I can tell you they’re worth it.

    • says

      Absolutely, Liz!! They’re open all month long – so, as long as you post something by march 31, you’re good! Click on the link here to go to Abby’s page where she explains the very few rules she has, which are more along the lines of requests than rules.

    • says

      I understand, Norma. The cayenne can be eliminated, but this small amount adds the suggestion of heat without overpowering. In fact, it takes a couple bites to start to notice it. I’m a spice girl, I admit, and add cayenne, sweet Hungarian paprika, and sriracha sauce to all kinds of things. Either way, the blue cheese – apricot combo works really well! Thanks for bringing this up!

    • says

      Debra Olson does indeed have some great dried apricots. A couple of years ago, I toured her cherrie orchard and bought some dried apricots in her store there. Like Rita, I’m a huge dried apricot lover, and have them in the car for snacks and take them with me hiking. You can’t go wrong with Olson’s, but these dried apricots from Everlasting Sun are unusual to me in their range of flavors. And I’ve never had one like the Larissa. It’s sweeter than others I’ve had, without losing that apricot tang. And so soft. But we’re lucky indeed to have such wonderful ones local to us too!! Thanks for adding the info on Olson’s, Rodger!!

  1. says

    I love your spin on the #baketogether Sable recipe. My mouth is watering thinking of these flavor combos – mmmmm! So nice to be baking & cooking with you!

    • says

      Thanks Michelle! They’re really a nice combination. But I should add that it’s easy to have a little too much blue cheese as it can really dominate. I had to experiment with a few batches before I got the balance of flavors I was looking for.

  2. says

    I can’t resist anything with blue cheese (love Point Reyes) and your combination here with apricots and cayenne sounds so enticing. What a terrific take on sables!

  3. says

    Love your post & the apricot-blue cheese combination you chose. I just visited Sahadi’s recently and got an education on the sulphured/unsulphured, California/turkish apricot differences, complete with taste testing. http://sahadis.com/store-tour I had been thinking of combining sweet and savory, so your combination and blogpost are inspiring.

    • says

      One more reason to make it out to NY, I can see. I would love to do their tasting. Thanks so much for your comment, Laura. I hope you try it and like it as much as we did. I’m making them again this weekend:-) Thanks for stopping by!

  4. says

    Genius spin on the recipe! I love it, I served mine with Plum Ginger Apricot Jam and they were amazing, so excited to be baking with you this month too!

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